Johnson, Miami hold off Stetson 87-79By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer Friday, Nov 9, 2012
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)—Reggie Johnson scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Miami held off Stetson 87-79 on Friday in the season opener for both teams.
Kenny Kadji finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for Miami, which trailed by seven late in the first half, then wasted most of a 13-point second-half lead before hanging on in the final minutes. Trey McKinney Jones scored 14 points, Shane Larkin added 13 and Rion Brown had 10 for Miami.
Adam Pegg scored 22 points, Aaron Graham added 21 and Chris Perez finished with 12 for Stetson, which shot 13 for 31 from 3-point range.
The Hurricanes played without guard Durand Scott, who still has two games remaining on a suspension imposed by the NCAA late last season for receiving impermissible benefits.
Stetson—a team that went 9-20 last season and a program that hasn’t finished with a record better than .500 since 2000-01—was down 67-54 with 7:36 left, then came roaring back.
Pegg made a pair of 3-pointers, the second of them off a set play out of a time out, to get the Hatters within three with about 3 minutes left. And after Perez grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and got fouled with 2:03 remaining, Stetson was within 76-74.
The Hatters got no closer. Johnson bullied his way free for a layup that put Miami up six with a minute left, then found McKinney Jones for another layup that sealed it on the next Hurricane possession.
Miami—a team with hopes of contending in the Atlantic Coast Conference despite losing an exhibition game to Division II St. Leo earlier this month— struggled early. By the time the Hurricanes had seven field goals of any kind, Stetson had already made six 3-pointers, and the Hatters led for much of the first half.
All the Hurricanes had to rely on early was Johnson, the 6-foot-10, 292-pounder who’s listed as 32 pounds heavier than anyone on the Stetson roster. Johnson had five rebounds in the first half, all of them offensive, and he turned those second chances into nine points. The last five of those came in the final 2:01 of the half, and the teams were tied at 34 at the break.
A spurt to start the second half gave Miami some real control for the first time.
Brown made a 3-pointer to open the half, Miami scored six quick points to build what was then its biggest lead, and after McKinney Jones made three free throws with 7:36 remaining, the Hurricanes’ lead was up to 67-54.